Alejandro J.S.M. Chavez

Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band played a benefit concert Saturday at the Ford Amphitheater to raise funds for Musicians At Play and the Pacoima based organization – MEND- Meet Each Need With Dignity. 

“It was a beautiful night and we really enjoyed ourselves. We were able to meet Poncho, he was very outgoing and was really supportive of our work,” said Ed Rose, the co-founder of MEND.  

Rose said as he left the theater and got on the shuttle bus he overheard  a woman talking to her husband about wanting to learn more about MEND, “We have invited her to visit us and take a tour,” said Ross.  

The evening he said was successful in connecting with people interested in learning more about the organization. Rose also noted the good work at the non-profit Musicians At Play. 

For the fans of Poncho Sanchez it was a solid two hour performance sprinkled with a walk down memory lane.  

Sanchez told the crowd that he was proud to be from L.A. and playing at the Ford again.  He noted that he grew up in Norwalk and is still going strong after his first gig in junior high school. 

“Remember 30 Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach and the Lighthouse and Concerts by the Sea? The Sea finally got them,” he laughed. He talked about performing for well more than 30 years and producing 37 CD’s and he gave the crowd a taste of some of the sounds that will be on his next CD.  

As soon as he played his first note, people young and old got up from their seats and began to dance in the aisles and in front of the stage. The band asked for applause for the dancers too.

He sprinkled a bit of salsa into his Latin Jazz repertoire.  “We were playing Salsa before it was called that, It was called Cuban music or cha-cha-cha.”  He gave a nod to other jazz musicians including the late Willie Bobo but ended the show in a different way.  

“Being raised in L.A. I love soul music,” said Sanchez who ended the night under the stars with a whole lot of soul.